Scottish nationalists shouldn’t be angry with the media for ignoring them

Concern that the mainstream media were ignoring them has helped nationalists reach out to young people on social media.

Concern that the mainstream media were ignoring them has helped nationalists reach out to young people on social media

The Herald has now come out in support of Scottish independence.

Whether it is a sign of things to come, or simply a clever move to up its circulation during the most important period in Scottish history for 300 years, the move seemed a significant one.

If nothing else, it disproves the widely held nationalist belief that the mainstream press are uniformly against them.

From ham-fisted coverage of Mark Carney’s currency speech to Andrew Marr pompously informing the first minister of Scotland that the country would struggle to join the EU, even outlets normally trusted by the Scottish left have become viewed as a weapon in the unionist camp’s war against independence.

But despite these concerns over media bias, support for independence has grown remarkably over the past few months, with a recent poll showing that a swing of just two per cent would be enough for a Yes Vote.

During the recent SNP conference in Aberdeen, Alex Salmond highlighted one of the differences between the two campaigns:

“The people are coming towards us. Political public meetings are being revived. Halls have been crowded… Last month the BBC finally discovered this grassroots campaign and tried to cover both sides of the debate. Their problem was that the No campaign struggled to find them any grassroots group to film – or even a single grassroot.”

The jibe hurts Better Together because it is true. No one has taken a lawnmower to the Unionist grassroots campaign; there was none growing to begin with.

And while the No campaign has wheeled out figures like Lord Robertson to make threats of cataclysm, Yes has side-stepped what it sees as the media’s deafness and attempted to meet the people of Scotland directly.

These town hall meetings – springing up across Scotland – are combined with a constant nationalist presence across social media.

Online platforms like Wings Over Scotland and Bella Caledonia are churning out well-written, heavily biased content to big audiences. Between them, these two have a bigger Twitter presence than Better Together. Yes has double that again.

These places provide a stage for Yes to refute unionist claims, and amplify their mistakes. Going on Twitter can feel like being back in the SNP conference.

When pro-union groups make a similar move it does not gather the same traction. Within hours of its launch, No Borders – a kind of unionist rival to the National Collective pro-Yes cultural group – was mired in controversy.

In fact critics questioned whether a group funded by a London-based, Conservative-donating millionaire (and coordinated by a London-based PR firm) could be considered either grassroots or Scottish at all.

Part of Better Together’s problem lies in its nature – it is much harder for a three-party coalition to offer a clear alternative to independence.

They may now have come together to form the Axis of Devo – but theirs is not a clear message that can be translated into 140 characters and spread across the internet.

Yes are particularly popular among young people and with 16 and 17 year olds awarded the vote for the first time in British history (around 100,000 have already registered), the internet is key to reaching them.

This is a problem for Better Together because it looks like the debate is becoming a battle between Yes – using modern communications to promise the future – and Better Together, promising more of the same, using the media of old.

Now none of this means Yes will or should win.

Better Together is still ahead in the polls and there are no guarantees the youth vote will swing it. Anyone who has ever seen a teenager on ketamine will know better than to conflate youth with energy.

But staying ahead in the polls should not be the only reason for Better Together to engage with the grassroots more – a vote for the union will mean very little if the public are voting because of the clear holes in the Yes camp’s message. A win driven by negatives will be no win at all.

So the nationalists may have been slightly paranoid in thinking the media was against them – and it may be too soon to start thinking of the online campaign as some sort of electronic indyfada.

But paranoid or not, it was this concern that drove energy into social media and helped them reach out to young people – something political parties across the spectrum have struggled with for years.

This rising support now seems to have brought the Herald on board, and there are claims that the Scottish Sun may have plans to follow suit.

In this sense the nationalists should not be angry with the media for ignoring them, but thankful. It was the press that set the cybernats free.

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116 Responses to “Scottish nationalists shouldn’t be angry with the media for ignoring them”

  1. Alec


    ~*pauses to breathe*~


    You cannot defend your or Stewpot’s wretched comments rationally – because there is no way to do so to do so – so you resort to, as you would say, unhinged rants.

    He blames the 96. He exonertes the Police. No-one with any authority continues to do so because they all accept it was fucking lie. That he is no-one calling the Scousers mindless thugs – as he did at the time – does not acquit him.

    L I V, E R P, double-O L, Liverpool FC!

  2. Spammo Twatbury

    “L I V, E R P, double-O L, Liverpool FC!”

    Oh, right, NOW it makes sense – you’re one of the killers. Yeah, the guilt would probably make me pretty crazy too.

  3. Alec

    Which killers? Not the real life actual killer who did fuck all on the day and allowed 96 to die, I presume.

    Stewpot exonerates them. You defend Stewpot.


  4. Disgruntled Knome

    Wrong, over the past 80 years excluding Scottish votes you will still have the same parliament.

    Data’s out there to find and see.

  5. Disgruntled Knome

    Labour = Red Torie.
    There is no difference, no progressive alternative except the Greens in the UK.

    For that matter, of the UK (inc Scot and Wales parliaments) its only the Greens, Socialists and SNP that actually have manifestos that align with the greater public opinion.

    Reason I will never ever understand the frankly racist perspective of this website towards Scotland, and its frankly dangerous bias against the SNP who side by side the common beliefs align.

  6. Col McGillveray

    Do you know what mind control system that alizsammin uses on these poor souls from Albion?

  7. Col McGillveray

    Twatface? Really?

  8. neilcraig

    Quite the contrary. The censorship is overwhelmingly, particularly in the state owned BBC, the other way. The BBC continuously and deliberately censors UKIP (now running at 10% in the polls and pushing the Tory claim to be our 3rd party). A “balanced” BBC (as their Charter legally requires) would be giving UKIP at least 1/4 the coverage they give the SNP because our support is over 1/4 of theirs (& far more than the Green/Dems who are nowhere). I don’t think anybody can deny they censor far more heavily than that.

    This affects the No campaign because many of the arguments revolve around losing the British share of the rebate, losing the British EU opt outs which would cost 170,000 jobs, signing up to the Euro and Shengen, which would mean border posts. Since the approved No parties are Europhile and refuse to use these arguments (& the BBC obviously refuse to broadcast any UKIP No meeting) the referendum “debate” is being heavily censored and in no sense a genuine debate.

  9. bjsalba

    This is the first time I have been to this site, and it will probably be the last.

    Firstlly you conflate the YES campaign and SNP. They are not the same.
    Secondly you refer constantly to YES activists as nationalists.

    This campaign is about democracy, not nationalism. It is about pooling and sharing, something utterly foreign to the Westminster elite.(all political parties).

    If Westminster had done a halfway decent job of governing in a democratic fashion then the YES movement would never have come into being.

  10. greg

    ‘From ham-fisted coverage of Mark Carney’s currency speech to Andrew Marr pompously informing the first minister of Scotland that the country would struggle to join the EU, ‘

    The thing is, they may see it as biased but those two things in particular are just true. Questioning Alex Salmond and co on this isn’t bias, it’s basic journalism, and Salmond seems to have the idea that a problem can be overcome by saying yes we can and ignoring the facts.

    Having seen a lot of Yes stuff on twitter a lot of Yes proponents have a massive chip on their shoulder about it all so any statement of fact like – it’s almost certain Scotland will have massive difficulties joining the EU – is just met with anger and claims of lies.

  11. Alec

    Yes, a frequent foot-stomping display of petulance I get on CiF and elsewhere to showing less than blinded-by-the-emitted-light-from-his-backside reverence for him his “ad hominems against the democratically elected FM of Scotland”.

    Quite apart from clearly not knowing what argumentum ad hominem is (and given the ease with which they then go sniffing for Tories or neo-cons in Better Together – if they even have the basic good manners to call it by its actual name – they don’t care), this shows a worrying degree of intolerance… to insist that politicians in advanced liberal democracies should be immune from criticism is a position no democrat should take.

    See the thugs below in this thread.

  12. Alec

    This is the first time I have been to this site, and it will probably be the last.

    Oh no, don’t go! Sorry, who are you?

    Firstlly you conflate the YES campaign and SNP. They are not the same.

    Apart from:

    i. YES events are packed to the gunnels with SNP members and representatives, sometimes even admitting to be so.

    ii. The public face of independence is led by senior SNP figures. When were Denis Canavan or Blair Jenkins last featured before Salmond or Sturgeon?

    iii. Two consecutive Holyrood elections ballot papers showed “Alex Salmond for First Minister”, and in seven years of Government the same faces have remained in senior ministerial positions.

    iv. The White Paper read like a Party manifesto, and one which just so happened to look like the SNPs.

    This campaign is about democracy, not nationalism.

    Plainly you are unaware that self-determination means pro-Union Scots are just as entitled to vote NO.

    It is about pooling
    and sharing, […]

    Vote to remain in the UK, then. She have no obligation to enter into cross-border agreements with a foreign country.

    something utterly foreign to the Westminster elite.(all
    political parties).

    Back to your difficulty in understanding that voting NO is an expression of self-determination, and the establishment of an SNP political elite fully ensconced in their own corners of Government.

    If Westminster had done a halfway decent job of governing in a democratic
    fashion then the YES movement would never have come into being.

    Alternatively, YES came into being because supporters think they’re just GREAT. That they are much more important than and shouldn’t have to share any power or responsibilities or duty of care with the other 55 millions people in the UK.


  13. Alec

    Yes, really. He’s a twat.


  14. Alec

    You omitted a comma. At least I hope you did, ‘cos the use of “so” as a superlative really gets on my tits.


  15. Max Bennie

    There is a difference between a “movement” and a political campaign. The Yes campaign is certainly the latter.

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